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April 20, 2005
Cecilie Gamst Berg in today's SCMP has an article on racism in China. At first I was going to use it as a talking point on this little discussed side of Chinese life and suggest the more homogenous a population the more likely it is to be racist. I have reproduced the full article below the fold. But, and you know there was a but, there were two parts that stand out...for the wrong reasons.
Firstly, discussing the racist outpourings when Condi Rice recently visited China:
Dr Rice deserves to be attacked for her country's foreign policy and for her own questionable taste in employer. Why would a black woman want to get mixed up with the Republicans at all? But devoting an entire rant to the two things she cannot help - her appearance and her sex - is just scoring easy points.Wowsers. Talk about slipping in a kidney punch. How does this help an article discussing the racist comments made during her visit. The implication is the author thinks Condi is a fool and betraying her sex and race, but that calling her an "ugly black bitch" is wrong. Ms Berg concludes:
Meanwhile, Dr Rice is a woman of many accomplishments. Let us hope that the ability to read Chinese is not one of them.Does Ms Berg think the US Embassy and Consular staff in China didn't report these things back to State? Sticks and stones and all of that, but to think that Rice isn't aware of this is naive.
Convenient channel for public fury
posted by Simon on 04.20.05 at 11:53 AM in the China people
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i should point out that there is a lack of proportion about what happened at sina.com. this story was originally noted by the president of the Chinese Independent PEN, Liu Xiaobo. over the course of five days during ms. rice's trip, he counted 70 racist posts on the topic. sina.com has 20 to 30 million visitors per day, and the racist comments are a tiny minority.
Acctualy it where 70 racist posts out of 800 he read, if you can believe an article in The Guardian:(http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1461208,00.html)
Nearly 9% is not a that small number.posted by: shulan on 04.23.05 at 12:15 AM [permalink]
I spoke to an American black man in China awhile back and he left this country believing that the majority of the population was racist.
You see, unlike many foreigners, Calvin is fluent in Chinese so he was able to hear and understand the racist comments that were directed at him every day as he walked the streets of China.
He mentioned that life could be difficult at times for a black man in America, but that is almost non-existent compared to China. At least people don't call him a "monkey" to his face when he walks past.
Most of the time he would brush it off and ignore the ignorance, but occasionally he would comment back to the offender in Chinese and once they managed to get over the fact that he could understand what they were saying, they would pretend not to understand his Chinese in hopes of saving whatever little face they could while scurrying away.
I don't know what it's like to be a black man in China, but I do not know what it is like to a Caucasian married to a Chinese in China and it can get pretty ugly at times. When my wife and I walk down the streets holding hands we get some of the nastiest looks you could ever imagine. Once some jerk in a pub actually had the audacity to shake my hand and speak to me in English while telling my wife that she was polluting the Chinese blood by marrying a foreigner.
That was the first time I've actually came close to getting into a physical confrontation with someone in China. Luckily, he was promptly escorted out of the pub by the waiter.
Racism is rampant in China, but hopefully that will change over time as more and more Chinese are exposed to foreigners and able to travel abroad.
Let's hope that Mark Twain was correct.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
—Mark Twainposted by: Gordon on 04.23.05 at 10:31 AM [permalink]
As I mentioned on my blog when I posted on this topic, I'm sure their racist comments and small-mindedness do not bother Dr. Rice because she is better educated than most Chinese and she weilds more power in her little black pinky than any man in all of Asia, let alone China.
http://thehorsesmouth.blog-city.com/read/1195766.htmposted by: Gordon on 04.23.05 at 10:47 AM [permalink]
* wieldsposted by: Gordon on 04.23.05 at 11:08 AM [permalink]
This is very interesting! I have been going back and forth regarding traveling to China. I'm a African-American woman. I decided not to add China to my travel itinerary because I'm not passionate about it therefore it wasn't worth the headache. I am going to Hong Kong which should be chocked full of interesting experiences.posted by: Ms. World on 04.26.05 at 08:48 PM [permalink]
I think Colin Powell doesn't register to some Asians as being of African descent.posted by: Ms. World on 04.26.05 at 08:57 PM [permalink]
He's not. He's of Jamaican heritage.posted by: bluejives on 04.27.05 at 05:50 AM [permalink]